Five minutes at Sepawa with …
H&PC: How is business going so far in 2017?
Maxime Fougére: Despite of the challenging economic environment, we succeed to maintain a leadership position in our core markets. This is a result of a range of new and exciting technologies and concepts designed to meet the needs of our customers and end user trends.
H&PC: You introduced some interesting products this year, indeed.
MF: This year we introduced our Carbopol® Clear polymer, a new polymer for styling products, in particular wet styling. It is based on our most recent acrylic polymer. The polymer offers high performance at minimum use level and by changing the concentration, different textures can be created. The idea is to have a thickener that would help our customers to formulate traditional styling gels, while also allowing them to formulate waxes and more complex formulations. It is a versatile product that allows customers to reduce the number of materials they are using. We also introduced a novel product for skin care applications. PemulenTM EZ-4U, is a polymeric emulsifier for skin, sun care and other leave on formulations. With PemulenTM EZ-4U polymeric emulsifier, our customers can create stable emulsions with a low concentration of polymer. It also widens the range of components that you can use in your emulsion as it performs over a broad pH range. Beyond all of these benefits, it also requires less water, heat and energy during manufacturing.
H&PC: And what are the plans for next year?
MF: We want to strengthen our position in emerging and faster growing markets like Eastern Europe and Africa. In order to do so, we are focusing on concepts and products that will resonate with the consumers in these markets. We seek to understand local consumer trends so that we can directly answer the needs of our customers.
H&PC: Interesting. Do you see anything unique about Eastern Europe or African markets?
MF: Each market is unique and has its specific needs. Where Eastern Europe follows closely the trends in Western Europe, the African market is quite different and diverse, mainly due to the variety of phenotype. For example, consumers in Africa tend to require products that provide strong conditioning for their hair. The demand is less focused on cleansing and more on nourishing products both for the hair and the scalp. You must shift your perspective to respond to the unique needs of this region.
H&PC: What do you think of the trend on natural products?
MF: Historically, we have not highlighted the naturally-derived products in our portfolio. With this growing trend, however, we plan to let customers know more about our naturally-derived technologies and expand our presence in this market. While our customers are looking to switch to naturally-derived products, it is clear that consumers expect the same performance as the ones based on traditional platforms. This is the challenge that companies face today, and quite often, the best performance comes from combining the best of two worlds.
H&PC: And what about sustainability?
MF: Lubrizol as an organization is highly focused on sustainability. We are a science-based company, so for us the focus is delivering the science to support the sustainability of our products. Recently, Lubrizol refreshed its commitment to a culture of sustainability, both of Lubrizol as an organization and of its products. We want our customers to understand why our products are sustainable and how we can help them to formulate their product in a sustainable way.
H&PC: What puts Lubrizol on top of the competition?
MF: We excel in quality, innovation, global supply and market knowledge. We have a deep understanding of our customer’s needs and strategies. Lubrizol invests in solving the technical problems of our customers and in bringing new concepts and ideas to the market. The success of a company like Lubrizol is based on its people. We at Lubrizol put the customer at the core of all of our activities.